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Handicapping Chief Explains Cup Log

Racing operator also have a say

The second log of standings for the R2 million Gr1 Gauteng Summer Cup has been published.

Louis The King – Summer Cup 2014 winner

A Sporting Post reader asked us to research how the log was ‘contrived’, and what factors were taken cognisance of when determining positions.

He also asked what influence the handicappers had.

In a response, NHRA Senior Handicapper Lennon Maharaj said that the Summer Cup Log is a requirement/condition of the race and acts as a guide for owners and trainers to plan their route into the race.

“It also guides punters and interested parties as to which horses are likely to make up the field.The Log is done at the Handicappers discretion with input from the Racing Operator,” he added.

Lennon Maharaj – explains the log mechanics

Lennon drew our attention to an extract from the race conditions which states that the Handicappers will publish a series of Logs from 27 Sep 2019 and that Phumelela Gaming & Leisure reserves the right to have an input and into the compilation of the Logs and in determining the final field.

He said that the following factors are considered by the Handicappers when compiling the Log:

  • Graded Race Form
  • Current Form
  • Merit Ratings – Lower rated progressive horses may be preferred to older exposed horses or horses deemed to be on the decline
  • Horses returning from a long lay-off or injury should ideally prove fitness
  • Distance Suitability

The log will be published on a weekly basis going forward, until declarations.

Second Entries close at 11:00 on Monday 4 November 2019.

Final Entries close at 11:00 on Monday 18 November 2019.

Declarations and final field on Tuesday 19 November 2019.

Draws announced on Wednesday 20 November 2019.

Hollywoodbets have an ante-post betting market on the Summer Cup – click here

Book your ticket for the big day – click here

Have Your Say

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20 comments on “Handicapping Chief Explains Cup Log

  1. E. Paines says:

    Your reader used the best possible adjective to describe the make up of the log when he said it is contrived.

    Phumelela should have no say at all in the handicapping of a horse.

    For the Nha to say that the conditions of the race give Phumelela an entitlement to be involved in the handicapping process is disheartening.

    The Nha is the regulator. Not Phumelela.

    No disrespect intended, but do the people who manage the Nha actually understand that Phumelela cannot be involved in determining the handicapping of horses. It makes a mockery of our handicapping systems and the functions of the Nha.

  2. AvJv says:

    The people who should be handicapping horses are the handicappers. This country must be the only country where the regulators allow third persons to interfere in the handicapping. It’s not right. Why have a regulator when the operator can do the job and for all we know is already doing the handicapping. Our handicappers are relegated to worker bees and the queen bee smiles happily while being fed. It is not right.

  3. Brett Maselle says:

    The NHA needs to take a long and serious look at itself.

  4. Rian says:

    The PEN doesnt seem to be working, maybe its time to PROTEST

  5. Brendon says:

    Is this a Guinness Book of Records moment/(s) for us as South Africans? It might just be for 2 reasons:

    1) This is the first circus to be operational 365-days a year. Gone are the days when the circus comes around once a year.; and

    2) A regulator having its work being moderated by the industry participant the it ought to regulate.

    It is unfathomable who is more clueless between dumb and dumber?

  6. Lebohang says:

    It’s a question not a comment,what happened to the grand heritage race meeting at the vial. .?

  7. Pops says:

    OK folks,who determines the Final field for the Vodacom Durban July?
    This is what Mr.Racing had to say, that throughout his career he had been involved in the selection of final fields for major races.
    And these are his qualification”
    Punter, owner, bilingual race-caller, racing journalist, television presenter, auctioneer, track expert, race programme planner, pedigree researcher, marketer, salesman, administrator
    Seems like he was never a handicapper.

    1. karel says:

      I can tell you one thing: he knows a lot more about handicapping than you imagine.

  8. Rian says:


  9. Jay August says:

    How is it that the commenters to this thread were extremely silent when the final field for the Durban July was announced?

    That races official website states – “The Vodacom Durban July log is compiled by a Gold Circle selection panel in consultation with the official handicappers. The log reflects, in order of preference, the horses the panel feel should make up the final field at the time of the log’s publication.”

    The conditions for that race state – “VODACOM DURBAN JULY LOGS: The Company in consultation with the Handicappers will publish a series of logs of the entries. The logs will reflect all the horses, in order of preference, as to the make up of the final field at the time of publication.”

    The conditions for the Summer Cup state “Handicappers will publish a series of Logs from 27 Sep 2019. Phumelela Gaming & Leisure reserves the right to have an input into the compilation of the Logs & in determining the Final Field.” The Racing Operator’ Conditions state;
    ……..7.1.6 Discretionary Power of the Company
    …………….Unless otherwise stated in the Race Requirements, the Company grants the
    ……………Handicapper the right to establish the field in any Feature Race or Juvenile
    ……………Plate. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in Condition 7,
    ……………the Handicapper shall have an absolute discretion, after the closing of
    ……………declarations, to
    …… exempt any horse from the application to it of these Conditions
    ……………..governing eliminations.
    ….. eliminate any horse from a race.

    It seems that feigned angst and contrived logic are required attributes to comment on Sporting Post for those who feel the need to manufacture outrage.

  10. Brendon says:


    I may be missing something here as I do not believe that any outrage is manufactured or misplaced when it comes to NHA or the operator.

    While we have come to accept that the NHA is not free from influence and the command of the operator, our expectations of the conduct of these entities may be unrealistic insofar as we as the racing public feel that it will be beneficial to the sport if the NHA was an independent body. I believe the Public Protector also made this observation that the regulator for the sport needs to be independent and recommended remedial action to No. 1 to establish same.

    The operator should have absolutely no say as to who should be in or out of the logs / final field. In this regard, suggestion by the operator to the NHA should not be construed as the operator having some sort of say. If you are of the view that the current involvement of the operator/s are acceptable then what limitations should apply to their involvement to ensure the integrity of the application of the rules and conditions in determining the final fields?

    The provisions of and are a joke. My take on these provisions are that the operator has the power to act unilaterally:

    (i) in eliminating any horse from the field ( This discretionary right gives the operator the ability to eliminate every horse (literally the entire field) that the handicapper suggests should be on the log or the final field;
    (ii) in determining why “qualifying” conditions should not apply ( to a potential runner that ordinarily does not meet the qualifying conditions applied by the Handicapper. This provision would allow the operator to include and declare runners at its discretion on the log or the final field, irrespective of whether the handicapper’s decision.

    The purpose of having an independent regulatory body is to provide the necessary independent oversight and to apply the rules objectively. If the operator has an issue with the handicapper/log/final field, the there should be a formal appeal process with the NHA – not this discretionary …. The Summer Cup has conditions that gives the operator discretionary powers, WHY? Maybe you can enlighten us on why its is necessary for the operator to have such powers and how its benefits the sport.

  11. Jay August says:

    Brendan, you are discussing a theoretical situation which does not exist. When has the regulator in this industry in SA ever been independent?

    Assuming your hypothetical scenario of complete independence and absolute objectivity, I can see no reason why in a free market the operator would not have the power to include or exclude any party it so chooses.

  12. Jay August says:

    Brendon, apologies for misspelling your name in the earlier comment.

    Surely the operators already have the discretionary powers you find troublesome. They are able to frame race conditions which include or exclude certain classes of participant. Those conditions can be detailed enough to ensure a certain outcome or to guide the hand of an independent regulator towards a desired outcome.

    How should rule 7 be changed to “benefit the sport” and what discretionary power should be excluded from the operator?

  13. Brendon says:


    The averments in your original post on this thread concludes that you have shadowed me and every other poster on this thread when the July fields were announced, and your categorical observation is that we “were extremely silent” following such announcement. It is beyond my comprehension how you can make this statement unless you have divine powers to be omnipresent or you are living and operating in a multiple dimension.

    Your reference to the VDJ log process and the Summer Cup log process is merely abstract data and is not informative to me if you offer no analysis, arguments and a succinct conclusion of the point you are seeking to make.

    Unless you are in a position to distill what observations you have noted on this thread that illustrates the “feigned angst”, “contrived logic” and “manufacture outrage” as you allege is prevalent on this thread, you may want to consider rephrasing your observations.

    PS. There is no need to apologise for misspelling. Rather consider whether the content of you post contains misplaced and misdirected anger.

  14. Jay August says:

    Brendon, you fall so easily into the habit you accuse me of, yet you have no knowledge of having done so.

    Perhaps you should refrain in future from making observations which include words like “clueless”, “dumb”, “dumber”, “circus” and “joke”.

    I’ll take your outrage at my statements far more seriously when you practice what you preach.

  15. Brendon says:


    What’s your point? if you have nothing to offer on this thread then move on.

    Clearly you are more accepting of the regulators role, rules its application thereof and its conduct than some us posting on this website. That is your prerogative. I have the right to express my views and will continue to do so.

    You want to discuss, debate or challenge me on this subject matter or any other that I hold a view on, bring it on.

    This sport is where it is today because of the lack of interest and convenient silence by majority of the stakeholders. Being complicit has been the order of the day for ever and a day. You can decide where you sit on these issues and you need not advance an explanation for your decision.

    Except for this industry, I am yet to find another industry in SA that has the industry participant moderate and dictate to the regulator of that industry.

  16. Jay August says:

    Brendon, perhaps you should have stayed on point originally and the debate would be had by now.

    I have no acceptance of anything other than the facts. Currently those facts allow the operator some discretion. You have yet to advance any persuasive argument as to why the operator should not have discretion to decide which horses may run in races it chooses to stage.

    I have already laid bare my position which you conveniently discard as being on the side of the regulator, although my position is clearly on the side of the operator in this regard.

    In what way is the industry prejudiced because the operator seeks to have an influence in the composition of the final field in this specific race?

  17. Brendon says:

    No no Jay. You are the one that got onto a soap box to have a go at those of us who posted on this thread. So perhaps you should have stayed on point originally and the debate would have been concluded long before this waste of time exchanges started.

    Here are the facts that you are omitting to recognise and acknowledge. The rules of the game should not allow for discretion as that unnecessarily opens up what should be an objective exercise and a credible process, to manipulation. There is no question in my mind that this need to change. When discretion creeps into a process that should be rules based and an objective application thereof (by the NHA), you are extending an open invitation to any operator (competent or not, credible or not), to introduce controversy.

    The failings of the industry has its roots in the systemic deficiencies of how it is set up, the dominance of a hand full of parties who use their power to manipulate the industry for their personal gain and amusement, the individuals who occupy positions of authority, majority of whom have no clue what their roles, responsibilities and duties entail. If these are the facts that you accept and you want me to express my views, then you are asking me to accept the abnormality that you accept.

    So if I understand you, you are saying that you are on the side of Phumelela and you believe that by them having discretionary powers the sport would be better off!

    As I mentioned previously, you are entitled to your views.

    1. karel says:

      Brendon & Jay,
      The thing is that in selecting the final field, there will be no argument from anyone about 90% of the horses to be included.
      The problems always are with the final 10%.
      No one is capable of making any sensible decisions about these – it’s all a matter of narrow opinion.
      It is in this respect that the operator reserves the right to make the final decision – which is not to say that the operator will overrule suggestions made by the handicapper.

      So where’s the problem?

  18. Brendon says:

    Hi Karel,

    It is my view that the operator should not be accorded any discretionary powers but rather an appeal process with the NHA should provide the checks and balances for the operator to advance its proposals.

    There are instances where the NHA’s rules accords discretion to those that they are policing. e.g Jockeys have the discretion to chose when they want to serve their suspension. Its unnecessary and it does not benefit the sport. Discretion should end with the regulatory body, not the operator.

    It is my view that we need change, and the rules are a minor part of the required change – the personnel changes required are more pressing, which has been highlighted by many on this forum.

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